As cryptocollectibles were taking off earlier this year, Peyton Manning wanted to learn more. So he texted Eli. “Hey, do you know anything about these, these NFTs?” In response, Eli picked up the phone. It would be easier to explain that way.
In a Zoom interview Tuesday, Eli recounted the moment he began educating his older brother. Now, over a month later, the pair is set to add their own collection to the growing marketplace, as they find themselves on the same battleground as longtime nemesis Tom Brady once again.
MakersPlace will sell the Mannings’ NFTs starting on April 16. Certain collectors will also have a chance to receive physical artwork, signed memorabilia, and virtual meet-and-greets with the Super Bowl champion QBs. Eli and Peyton brought in artists JK5 and Micah Johnson to create eight pieces of digital art. The works commemorate Peyton’s “Omaha” catchphrase, Eli’s helmet catch completion, their charitable work, their father Archie, and more. “I think it’s really about telling your story through art,” Eli said. “The fun part was actually creating the pieces, creating the art, and now hopefully other people get to enjoy it as well.”
A day before the Mannings announced their entry, though, Brady threw his helmet in the ring. The seven-time Super Bowl champ is launching an entire NFT platform, Autograph, this spring and will sell his own NFTs as well as ones from “the biggest names in sports, entertainment, fashion and pop culture,” according to CNN.
While Brady continues to extend his ring lead over his signal-caller contemporaries, the Mannings were two of only seven QBs to beat him in the playoffs, contributing five of his 11 postseason losses. The aforementioned helmet catch helped Eli defeat the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Gisele Bündchen probably won’t be buying that digital item for her husband anytime soon. The Mannings were 9-13 against Brady overall.
Last month, Eli joined the SPAC craze, and he said he’s been reading about the recent boom in sports cards as well. “The whole alternative assets world is being brought back up and getting popular again,” he said. “It’s funny how all of a sudden, you’re like, Mom, where’ s my 1986 Topps baseball set? I think I’ve got some good cards in there.”
Eli compared the digital items to those pieces of cardboard. “It’s a way to collect things but a little easier to trade it, and to move it around or to sell it or to showcase it,” he said, “rather than your card sitting in front of you.”
On the card front, Brady can claim the upper hand. His rookie card recently set a football record, going for $2.25 million at auction.
(This article has been updated throughout to include information on Tom Brady’s NFT platform.)